Israel's Border Wars, 1949-1956: Arab Infiltration, Israeli Retaliation, and the Countdown to the Suez War

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Clarendon Press, 1997 - History - 469 pages
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This revised and updated paperback edition of a highly successful study looks at the development of Israeli-Arab relations during the formative years 1949 to 1956, focusing on Arab infiltration into Israel and Israeli retaliation. Palestinian refugee raiding and cross-border attacks by Egyptian-controlled irregulars and commandos were a core phenomenon during this period and one of the chief causes of Israel's invasion of Sinai and the Gaza strip, the Israeli part of the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt in 1956. Benny Morris probes the types of Arab infiltration and the attitude of Arab governments towards the phenomenon, and traces the evolution of Israel's defensive and offensive responses. He analyses Israeli decision-making processes, including the emergence and ultimate failure of Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett's dissident policy of moderation and describes in detail the history of the Arab infiltration, including the terrorist-guerrilla raids by state-organized Fedayeen in 1955-6, and of the IDF raids against Sharafat, Beit Jala, Qibya, Gaza, the Syrian Sea of Galilee positions, and the Sabha. This was a precedent-setting period in the making of Israeli defence policy, and this pattern of raiding and counter-raiding served to define Israeli-Arab relations during the subsequent three to four decades. In this revised and expanded paperback edition, Benny Morris deepens our understanding of the evolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict and of the crossroads at which a possible peace settlement was missed.

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About the author (1997)

Benny Morris is at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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